Thursday, August 04, 2016

Tonight's Movie: Murder, She Baked: A Plum Pudding Mystery (2015)

A few weeks ago I watched MURDER, SHE BAKED: A CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE MYSTERY (2015), a Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel film based on a book by Joanne Fluke.

I've just watched the second film in the series, MURDER, SHE BAKED: A PLUM PUDDING MYSTERY (2015), and I liked it even better than the first. It's a great blend of well-developed characters and small-town charm...plus watching it will make you hungry!

It's the week before Christmas in Lake Eden, Minnesota, and Hannah Swensen (Alison Sweeney), owner of Hannah's Cookie Jar, is busy getting holiday orders out to clients.

One evening after going to dinner with her beau Norman (Gabriel Hogan), a dentist, they stop by a Christmas tree farm to collect a check the owner owes Hannah. Unfortunately, the man is dead when they arrive.

Hannah can't help being curious about the case, to the dismay of Hannah's second beau, Mike (Cameron Mathison), a police detective. Mike fears for Hannah's safety when she becomes involved with cases -- with good reason.

MURDER, SHE BAKED features well-rounded and authentic characters. The movie does a particularly good job capturing the simultaneous awkwardness and magic of getting to know someone who's potentially relationship material -- with the awkward angle compounded by the fact Hannah's being pursued by not one but two really nice men. Her blushing delight and embarrassment when the guys bid for her cookies in a charity auctions was sweet. (Wonder if they'd seen OKLAHOMA!?) Should she go for Norman, Mr. Stability who shares her love of travel, or the less predictable Mike, with whom she tends to have fiery arguments?

There are also some very good family scenes. Hannah maintains a positive relationship with her mother (Barbara Niven), despite her mom's pushiness, by humorously rolling her eyes at her mom's more over-the-top comments and letting them roll off her back. There's also a very cute scene with Hannah's sister Andrea (Lisa Durupt), who's afraid to stay home alone with a murderer on the loose while her deputy sheriff husband (Toby Levins) is at work. The picture of the grown "girls" curled up with Hannah's cat is delightful.

MURDER, SHE BAKED: A PLUM PUDDING MYSTERY was directed by Kristoffer Tabori. Tabori, who is also an actor, is the son of director Don Siegel.

The movie was filmed in British Columbia by Todd Williams.

MURDER, SHE BAKED: A PLUM PUDDING MYSTERY is an engaging film which can be enjoyed by the entire family. I'm very much looking forward to the next installments, A PEACH COBBLER MYSTERY (2016) and A DEADLY RECIPE (2016).

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